A drowsy driver — if he or she falls asleep at the wheel — is far more dangerous than a drunk driver. However, it can be difficult for California law enforcement to enforce drowsy driving since there are no real tests to determine whether or not a driver has received sufficient levels of sleep before getting behind the wheel.
Here are few tips to avoid sleep-deprived driving:
— Never drive if you haven’t slept enough: You’re the only one who can say whether you’ve had enough sleep to safely driver. Some people require just four hours of sleep per night to be fully rested, while others may require nine hours of beauty rest. If you ever experienced your head nodding and your eyes wanting close while driving, it’s a sure sign that you had better pull off to the side and take a nap immediately. You might also want to get a cup of coffee to increase your attentiveness, but caffeine is never a substitute for a full night’s rest.
— Check yourself when driving during naturally drowsy times: Everyone is different, but most people experience the drowsiest time of their day during the hours of 12 a.m. to 6 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. If you have to drive at these times, check yourself to make sure it’s safe. If you’ve been driving for an extended period of time, these hours can be extra dangerous.
— Don’t be a victim of “sleep inertia”: Sleep inertia refers to the urge to fall back asleep during the first hour after waking. Truck drivers are especially susceptible to sleep inertia when they wake in their sleeper berths. Drivers who wake up and head to work early in the morning are also vulnerable to sleep inertial. Symptoms of sleep inertia also include impairment related to performance tasks, short term memory problems, cognitive functioning problems and more.
A sleep-deprived driver who injures you may be liable to pay for your financial damages. By speaking with a California personal injury lawyer about your injuries and accident, you can evaluate the viability of your potential claim for compensation.
Source: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, “CMV driving tips – driver fatigue,” accessed May 26, 2017